Monday, January 26, 2015

Patient Engagement Framework for Healthcare providers

HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) has published a good framework for engaging patients so as to improve health outcomes.

Patients want to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process, and those who are engaged as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes. The whole idea to is to treat patients not just as customers, but partners in their journey towards wellness.

The following link provides a good reference for designing technology building blocks for improving patient experience.

Inform Me --- Engage Me --- Empower Me --- Partner with me

Ruminating on Open Graph Protocol

Ever wondered how some links on Facebook are shown with an image and a brief paragraph? I dug deeper to understand what Facebook was doing behind the scenes to visualize the link.

To my surprise, there was something called as "Open Graph Protocol" that defined a set of rules for telling Facebook, how your shared contents should be displayed on it.

For e.g. we can add the following meta-tags in any web page and Facebook would parse these tags when you post the link to this page.

  • <meta property=”og:title” content=” “/>
  • <meta property=”og:type” content=””/>
  • <meta property=”og:url” content=””/>
  • <meta property=”og:image” content=””/>
  • <meta property=”fb:admins” content=””/>
  • <meta property=”og:site_name” content=””/>
  • <meta property=”og:description” content=””/>

  • More information can be found at this link -

    Router blocking HTTPS traffic?

    Recently I had got a new cloud router for my broadband connection. Though the speed was very good, I was facing intermittent problems in accessing HTTPS sites. For e.g. webmail would hang sometimes, payment gateway pages would not load, Amazon app would not load screens, etc.

    At first, I was not sure if the router was to blame, or was it the internet connection itself. A quick google search revealed that this is a common problem faced by many routers and had to do with the MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) size limit. I was surprised that the MTU size would affect HTTPS which is a application level protocol.

    The following links show an easy method to find out the correct MTU size for your network using the ping command. For e.g. ping -f -l 1472

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Applying Analytics to Clinical Trails

    The below link is a good article on using Big Data Analytics to improve the efficiency of clinical trials.

    Snippets from the article -

    "Recruiting patients has been a challenge for pharmaceutical companies. 90 per cent of trials are delayed with patient enrollment as a primary cause.  
    Effective target segmentation for enrollment is a key to success. Traditional methods of enrollment rely upon campaign and segmentation based on disease lines across wider populations. Using data science, we can look at the past data to identify proper signals and help planners with more precise and predictive segmentation. 

    Data scientists will look at the key attributes that matter for a given patient to successfully get enrolled. For each disease type, there may be several attributes that matter. For example, a clinical trial that is focused on a new diabetes medication targets populations’ A1C levels, age group, demographics, outreach methods, and site performance. Data science looks at the above attribute values for the target users past enrollment data and then builds ‘patient enrollment propensity’ and ‘dropout propensity’ models. These models can generate multi variant probabilities for predicting future success. 

    In addition to the above modeling, we can identify the target segment’s social media footprint for valuable clues. We can see which outreach methods are working, and which social media channels the ‘generation Googlers’ are using.  Natural language processing (NLP) techniques to understand the target population’s sentiment on clinical trial sites, physicians, and facilities can be generated and coded into a machine understandable form. Influencer segments can be generated from this user base to finely tune campaign methods for improving effectiveness."

    Thursday, January 08, 2015

    Ruminating on the Open Bank Project

    A colleague of mine introduced me to the 'Open Bank Project'. It's an interesting open source project to create a generic API layer on top of various core banking products. Third-party developers would then use these APIs to build cool mobile and social apps.

    The open source project was started by a Berlin based company named Tesobe. Right now, they seem to have successfully built adapters/connectors to 3 German banks and are planning to add connectors for more banks. A full list is given here -

    A few sample apps have been built using the Open Bank API -

    I think the concept is interesting, but the challenge would be to build the connectors to the various core banking products out there. Will download the APIs from github and evaluate them further.